Tigers’ Georgeff named Coach of the Year

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff

The Howards Grove Tigers, who won the Division 4 girls state basketball championship this past season, earned all-state and top coaching honors.

Tiger head coach Heidi Georgeff was named Wisconsin’s Associated Press Coach of the Year. HG won the first state title in the program’s history and finished the season 27-1.

HG senior forward Sam Yancy is on the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association D-4 all-state first team. Yancy’s Tiger team- mate Brittany Schaller, a senior point guard, earned WBCA allstate honorable mention.

Yancy and Plymouth senior guard Gwen Streblow were named to the AP all-state honorable mention team.

Tiger senior guard Olivia Stauss was selected to the wissports.net all-tournament team for the state basketball competition in all five divisions.

“You don’t get awards without success, so I have to throw this recognition back to this year’s team. It’s a very nice honor but I am the same coach I’ve always been, just become a little more ‘seasoned’ over the years. The team deserves the credit,” said Georgeff who completed her 10th season as the Tigers’ head coach.


HEIDI GEORGEFF, talking to her Howards Grove girls basketball team at state, was named the AP Coach of the Year. – Photo by Terry Schaller HEIDI GEORGEFF, talking to her Howards Grove girls basketball team at state, was named the AP Coach of the Year. – Photo by Terry Schaller “I think it’s [coaching honor is] mostly a reflection of this year’s team. I’ve been lucky enough to spend 3-4 years with these girls on varsity. They’ve believed in me and our system. This is one of the best defensive teams I have ever coached and that took a lot of hard work and discipline throughout high school.”

Yancy averaged 11.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.6 steals, 1.1 assists and 1.0 blocked shots per game this past season. The Big East Conference Player of the Year led the Tigers in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocked shots.

Schaller paced HG in assists with a 3.6 average and three-point goals with 24. She averaged 10.1 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals per contest.

Yancy and Schaller were voted to the All-BEC first team by the league coaches for the second straight season.

“For Brit and Sam to be recognized as all-state is huge because they play on a balanced team that doesn’t require them to have outstanding offensive stats every night. They are definitely our leaders but they do what is needed each game and sometimes that wasn’t scoring,” said Georgeff.

“Most of the time too much emphasis is placed on offensive stats, so for them to receive this recognition shows their impact did not go unnoticed.”

Streblow, the East Central Conference Player of the Year, led the Panthers in scoring with a 16.4 average and three-point goals, 38. She averaged 2.7 steals, 2.2 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game. Streblow was voted to the All-ECC first team for the second straight year.

“Gwen is certainly deserving of all-state recognition. She is one of the most well-rounded players I have ever coached. You are not going to find a lot of players anywhere in the state that is as versatile as Gwen,” said PHS head coach Brad Shutter.

“Offensively, she had the ability to hit the three, attack and finish at the rim, pull up and shoot the mid-range jump shot and post up if needed. She is also a great ball handler and played a lot at the point this season for us. Defensively, she can guard all five.”

Senior forward Sydney Cooks from Kenosha St. Joseph was named the state’s AP Player of The Year in girls basketball. Cooks was also selected co-Miss Basketball. The Michigan State recruit scored 23 points in the Lancers’ 52-50 loss to HG in a sectional final.

Stauss sparked the Tigers to a 44-43 comeback win over La Crosse Aquinas in the state championship game. Stauss scored six points in her team’s 12-3 run which erased a 40-32 deficit in the final 3:32.

Her two free throws with 10.2 seconds left gave HG a 44-41 lead. Stauss scored a team-high 16 points and was 9-for-11 at the foul line in the title game. In the Tigers’ 44-37 semifinal win over Durand, Stauss scored 11 points and had a team-best six rebounds and two steals.

“Olivia played her best basketball at the state tournament. She stepped up huge on the biggest stage and there is no better way to end a career,” said the HG coach.

Georgeff was asked what she attributes her coaching prowess to.

“I think I’ve had success because I don’t coach individual basketball. I think the best teams are the most balanced teams. I don’t believe in Most Valuable Players, I believe in outstanding team players,” she said.

“I also believe in a defense-first mentality and I think this year’s team is proof that defense really does win championships.”

Georgeff, who played basketball at HG, pointed out persons who have influenced her coaching career.

“My middle school coach Leonard Bogenschuetz had a profound impact on my early love of the game. Obviously, my husband Wade [head Tiger boys basketball head coach], has been a big influence on me. We met in the gym and have grown together as coaches over the last 10 years,” she recalled.

“I played for Penny Maletzke at UW-Sheboygan and I hold her in high regard. Kevin Bruggink [Oostburg head boys basketball coach] is the coach I look up to the most.”

Georgeff pointed out what it means to her to coach at her high school alma mater and to coach a state championship team.

“I knew I wanted to be a basketball coach since I started playing the game. My mind was better at the game than I was physically. Some people dream of big careers but I always wanted to be a great coach,” said Georgeff.

“I’ve lived in HG all my life, so to be able to give back to the community where my friends and family live is pretty special to me.

“For me, coaching isn’t just about wins and losses. Winning a state championship is awesome but for me it’s all about the relationships with the players and the positive impact I can have on them,” she said.


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